Free agency is just around the corner for the Detroit Lions, and while the team should have a good chunk of change to spend, it’s true that everybody likes a deal during the initial rush.
Last year, the Lions found such a score with defensive end Charles Harris, who put up 7.5 sacks and had a career season as a pass rusher in Detroit’s scheme. While Harris could be a player that returns as a result, he will probably be in demand on the market. That means it isn’t a stretch to say the team could be looking for their next version of Harris on the market as well.
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Bleacher Report and writer Kristoper Knox picked out some free agent players who could blow up on new teams during the 2022 season. Cracking the list was edge rusher and linebacker Takkarist McKinley, formally of the Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns. While McKinley has bounced around so far, Knox believes his best plan should be finding a team that can get him a consistent role on their defense.
Specifically, Knox believes that the Lions offer McKinley a great chance to rehab his career and start on a bright new path for the future. As Knox also explained, there would be big risk with this move seeing as McKinley might not be primed for a fast impact coming off injury.
If the Lions draft a pass rusher and make a few additions in free agency, the burden on McKinley could be lessoned in Detroit, making him a potentially interesting signing. The Lions themselves could look to mine some gold just like this, so it could be a great addition for their roster.
Lions Need Major Pass Rush Help for 2022
Detroit has to find a way to rush the quarterback in the future, and that is especially true given the fact that the team only collected 36 sacks in 2021. Charles Harris was the leading sack collector last year, and while the Lions have seen players emerge like Julian Okwara, Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike, and are hoping for the return of Romeo Okwara, they still need to find a way to bully the quarterback consistently.
No matter what the Lions decide to do, beefing up a needy pass rush is a significant goal ahead of the 2022 season that has to be addressed. Since 2017, the team has collected only 130 total sacks, with the high mark of 43 coming in 2017, so a major change is in order from folks who can get after it.
McKinley could offer the group a little bit of punch if he is healthy.
McKinley’s Career Stats & Highlights
A former first-round pick at 27 in 2017 out of UCLA, McKinley is a player who came into the league with many expectations and much fanfare as it relates to becoming a stud. That didn’t happen immediately for him, leading some to proclaim McKinley a bust. In his NFL career, he has produced only 97 tackles and 20 total sacks. He wanted out of Atlanta, then made his way to Las Vegas, where he was not able to be on the field thanks to injury. McKinley signed with Cleveland in 2021, where he posted just 1.5 sacks this past season.
Here’s a look at some of McKinley’s best work:
In college, McKinley was one of the more explosive rushers in college, so he has a track record to rely on. Whether or not he can get back to that level remains to be seen, but the Lions could be a team that offers him a chance to do this according to some of the experts.